Settling with car owner without reporting to insurance

Joined
Aug 14, 2015
Messages
2,361
Location
CA, USA
Yesterday in a parking garage in LA, I nicked a bumper of a Subaru as I was rounding a corner in a parking garage (their car was stationary, nobody was in it). I left a note with my name & cell number, explaining what I did and where the damage was. I did take a couple of pics.

I’m not sure what my next steps should be. I’d like some recommendations.

I’m wondering if we can get out of this without reporting it to insurance. Problem is, my deductible is only $500, and I’m pretty sure if the owner wants to replace it, it would cost a ton more. If that's the case, I'd definitely want to report it. Are there other options I could lobby for from the owner, instead of replacing the bumper?

At any rate, because this was a parking garage in a harbor, it could be a week or two or three before the owner even comes back to the car. I’m not sure if insurance companies have requirements about how soon you have to report something.

Last time I reported a claim to my home insurance, it was denied, but it was still on my record as a “claim,” and other insurance companies told me that they wouldn’t take me as a home customer until x years had passed after the last claim. So I’d rather not have this on my record if I’m going to settle privately with the driver anyways, but on the other hand like I said, I don’t know if there is a time frame that the insurance company (Mercury) wants to hear about it, before refusing to pay.

Finally, assuming we do settle without reporting, should I have the owner of the car sign some statement to the effect that they will release me from any further damages, upon payment of the money that I’ll give them?

I have settled without reporting once before when someone hit me. It was actually a very smooth experience. I've never had to talk about this possibility when I've been the one at fault.

I’ll post the pics later on today.
 
OK here we go. 1NEW.jpg2new.jpg3new.jpg

I didn't circle the damage. It is the white scratch marks on the rear left bumper.
 
Sounds like you have lousy insurance. If you cannot call and talk to them, at least, that's lousy.
Sounds like the other party is willing to work with you. Perhaps you can get multiple quotes?

There is a huge benefit to using your insurance: after they settle, the other party cannot come back on you, or it is very difficult for them to do so.

Good luck. No one got hurt. Just your pocketbook. No biggie.
 
That looks like a bad decision to park a large vehicle in a small space and have it stick out at the end of the row. If it sits there for several weeks it's entirely possible someone else will also hit it.

Deductible applies when your insurance company pays you for damage to your car. Your insurance company will pay the whole amount to repair the other guy's car.

You are correct don't file any claims on home insurance except in case of major loss. Car insurance isn't quite like that.
 
Last edited:
I haven't talked to them yet. I have no idea when they will call.

Sounds like you have lousy insurance. If you cannot call and talk to them, at least, that's lousy.
Sounds like the other party is willing to work with you. Perhaps you can get multiple quotes?

There is a huge benefit to using your insurance: after they settle, the other party cannot come back on you, or it is very difficult for them to do so.

Good luck. No one got hurt. Just your pocketbook. No biggie.
 
If I owned that Subaru, I would call my insurance and have them deal with you and your insurance.... end of story.
I'm looking to protect myself and my property.

You did your part by leaving a note..... good Man.
 
R&R bumper cover. R&R bumper trim. Bodywork on bumper. Paint bumper. 1-2 days rental. I'm thinking $600-700 retail bill at a body shop. If the owner gives you a hard time, you could argue contributory negligence for parking a larger car in a compact space as the sign says, and the picture shows the end sticking out.
 
My sister just had this happen to her. (She backed into a neighbor's car as she left my driveway - cracked the front bumper of his car parked on the street and destroyed a headlight.) She rang his doorbell and they came outside to discuss. He was cool about it and said he would get some estimates. (He did get two estimates the next week).
They exchanged info and since her dectiible was $1,000, she elected to just pay him directly for the costs to fix - about $1,150.

A month later he came over with a $100 check for her and said the final bill was $100 less. Wow... This is what happens when HONEST people get together and people act like adults and so forth... Having said that.... we all know how people are and what insurance companies will do.
 
My sister just had this happen to her. (She backed into a neighbor's car as she left my driveway

They exchanged info and since her dectiible was $1,000, she elected to just pay him directly for the costs to fix - about $1,150.
Huh? If SHE caused the damage to another car, no deductible is involved. Are you leaving out part of the story?
 
Without involving insurance you are fully liable for anything the owner claims for years even if you pay them today. I have tried the “let’s not involve insurance” twice and both times the other party started making all kinds of claims about the damage costing $$$. I then gave them all of my insurance info and both never filed a claim.
on the other hand I have been in you exact situation, left a note and gave insurance info then followed up with my insurance explaining the situation. My insurance handled the whole thing and I never had any more involvement or an increase in premium. In fact I asked about it a year later because I never knew they made a claim.
 
Huh? If SHE caused the damage to another car, no deductible is involved. Are you leaving out part of the story?

Nope... An "accident" is an accident. She could have driven away.... but instead, like the OP, went directly to the owner. He could have demanded to get her insurance and allowed the two companies to handle it. Instead, they decided to handle it themselves. That's the whole story.
 
Without involving insurance you are fully liable for anything the owner claims for years even if you pay them today. I have tried the “let’s not involve insurance” twice and both times the other party started making all kinds of claims about the damage costing $$$. I then gave them all of my insurance info and both never filed a claim.
on the other hand I have been in you exact situation, left a note and gave insurance info then followed up with my insurance explaining the situation. My insurance handled the whole thing and I never had any more involvement or an increase in premium. In fact I asked about it a year later because I never knew they made a claim.

When two parties agree to handle it on their own, I don't see a problem. Sadly, only in today's litigious society does this happen. A bumbper & headlight in a low impact accident is all there was to "fix". I'm sorry your experience didn't go as well as my sister's, but around here, we talk to our neighbors and we actually like each other. Had this been a total stranger.... I would have advised her differently.
 
The sign says compact only to prevent this exact situation. The Subaru has culpability for this, too. They need to pay at least half of the repair.
 
Notice the OP hasn't brought up the parking spot and whether it's for "compact" cars or not ? The OP still hit the car and has accepted full responsibility. Parking there doesn't make it okay for others to hit the car and walk (drive) away.

Huh? If SHE caused the damage to another car, no deductible is involved. Are you leaving out part of the story?
Not everyone understands which coverage covers different types of accidents, when deductibles will apply, and so on.

I’m wondering if we can get out of this without reporting it to insurance.
All you can do is wait.... The owner may take your information straight to their insurance company and start a claim and there's nothing you can do. Their insurance will reach out to you for your insurance details and you likely can't stop the process. Or, your note may get removed or blown off and the owner will never know who did it.
 
Nope... An "accident" is an accident. She could have driven away.... but instead, like the OP, went directly to the owner. He could have demanded to get her insurance and allowed the two companies to handle it. Instead, they decided to handle it themselves. That's the whole story.
Then you don't seem to understand what a deductible means and how insurance works. A deductible applies to damage your caused to your own car and assuming you carry collision on it. If you damage another car, no deductible applies and your insurance would cover the damage to the other car in full.
 
Top